2020 has been quite a year with the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the globe. We’ve all had to go into lockdowns and quarantines around the world. Even though most countries have gotten a handle on the pandemic, it’s far from over. And while the world is slowly opening back up, there are new issues that we’re having to handle in face of the pandemic.
Animal rescues and other organizations are now dealing with the aftermath of what the virus has done to people and families with coronavirus. Different animal groups have had to step up and help care for the pets who’ve been left behind after their owners go into hospital.
New York was decimated by the coronavirus and as a result, many people either passed away or spent a long time in hospitals, recovering. Many of those people didn’t have anyone to care for their pets who were left behind in their homes. This prompted many animal lovers to ban together and do something about it.
A veterinarian at Animal Care Centers of NYC, Dr. Robin Brennen, was reported by The New York Times to be one of those who were helping to care for the stranded and abandoned pets of New York. As The Times added, Brennen is a trained disaster responder, meaning she was trained in how to handle herself when entering the homes of ill people. She was able to take the appropriate precautions such as donning full protective gear in order to feed and care for the isolated animals. On occasion, they would have to take custody of those pets whose owners were sadly never coming home. Unfortunately, there was one dog who starved to death before anyone was able to make it out to the residence.
There was some concern for cats, as they were a little more susceptible to catching coronavirus from those who were coming to visit them. As a result, there was a 14-day quarantine for cats prior to being removed from homes just to be sure.
Often times it’s the residents within a building who are raising the alarm about a sick person’s pet in need. This is what happened when Dr. Brennen was called to care for a couple of cats who had been left at home following their owner going into the hospital. As Brennen stated, “I knew how much she wanted those cats and loved them. And I wanted them to be there for her when she got home.”
Unfortunately, the woman did not survive and she passed away because of the virus. One of the neighbors later ended up adopting the cats. Dr. Brennen was pleased, stating that it was nice that there were people willing to help.
The Times has further shared that many patients who go into the hospital with the virus end up being intubated, meaning that they aren’t able to tell people that their pets are alone at home. As a result, it’s usually the neighbors who catch on after they hear the sounds of animals in distress. It is quite sad to know that these poor animals’ only hope is being heard by neighbors. The needs of these animals caused New York City’s emergency management and animal welfare offices to come up with a solution, and in April, they introduced a special hotline for struggling owners to get help for their pets amid the pandemic. This has resulted in about 117 pets being surrendered.
While COVID-19 continues to rage on, the sad reality is we’ll probably be seeing more pets struggling as their owners either pass away or go into the hospital for prolonged periods. Thankfully, there are people like Dr. Brennen who are doing their best to keep up with the demand for help.
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.
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